Life has been hectic, crazy, strange and over the top, and whenever that happens manuscripts inevitably get pushed to the side, but by golly, I finally got it done. My next novel, The Letter, has gone to the editor, just in time to be stalled in her inbox as she gets ready to move across the country. Sometimes you have to either laugh or cry, but it also gives me a grace period in case I get a middle of the night inspiration for a last-minute change.
Like my previous novels, The Letter has plenty of plot twists as the characters deal with unexpected challenges. However, leading man Danny is more fallible than some of his predecessors, such as Alex Montoya in The Deception and Shane MacLeod in The Stalker. Danny is haunted by issues from his past that he can’t seem to resolve, while leading lady Stephanie is a woman with backbone who calls it as she sees it, but she sometimes does so without considering the long-term consequences.
Look for characters from my other novels to make an appearance. Jesse St. Claire from The Betrayal makes a cameo, while Paul, a supporting character from The Reunion, also has a significant role.
Rachel Bennett has a problem. A man from her past is obsessed with her.
A twenty-eight year old graphic designer, Rachel has recently returned to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and is attending her ten-year high school reunion. While she’s there she’s reintroduced to Shane MacLeod, a fellow classmate who she briefly met while serving on the yearbook committee. Rachel may not remember Shane, but he certainly remembers her, and as they’re busy getting reaquainted another man from Rachel’s past suddenly reappears. A former coworker, Craig Walker, has been stalking and harassing her for the past few years, and no matter how hard she tries to seek justice, the system keeps failing her.
Fortunately for Rachel, it’s all about to change. Shane is undaunted by Craig, and, with his help, things finally appear to be working in her favor. But unknown to them, Craig is about take his revenge, and Rachel’s life will never be the same.
Rachel was inspired by an acquaintance who was once hounded by a former colleague. She’s a courageous woman determined to regain control of her life, and she’s not afraid to back down from a fight.
I decided I would make Emily St. Claire, my leading lady in The Betrayal, a loving, devoted wife. Emily is happily married to Jesse, her college sweetheart, and she put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold, at least for a time, taking a job as an office manager so Jesse could launch his own career. And now that he’s become successful, it’s Emily’s turn to pursue her dream.
Unfortunately, Emily’s world is about to be turned upside down. She’ll get the shock of her life when she discovers Jesse has been unfaithful to her. Emily, however, is nothing if not resilient. She returns home to her father, and her piano, determined to follow her dreams, with or without Jesse. But as she begins to follow her dream, her life will take another unexpected turn. An unforeseen tragedy will lead her to Kyle, a man who’ll love her unconditionally, but before Kyle can pursue her, he has to save her from another enemy, determined to destroy her.
I wanted Emily to be the polar opposite of Maggie Andrews, the betrayed wife in The Deception. Both women have been deeply hurt by their husband’s infidelity, but Maggie chooses to take her wrath out on Carrie, her husband’s mistress, even with the knowledge that Carrie was completely unaware that Scott was married and had already ended the relationship. Maggie is a bitter, unhappy woman, who uses her husband’s affair as an excuse to destroy another person’s life because she believes doing so will somehow make her feel vindicated.
Emily, on the other hand, tries her best to handle her husband’s infidelity with grace and dignity, but another man will soon take advantage of her vulnerability, causing her to make a decision she will later regret, and that others will use against her.
While Emily is a fictitious character, the inspiration for her story came from two different friends. One was a man I dated many years ago who had caught his ex-wife in the act. The other was a friend who never forgot the day her father came home and caught her mother being unfaithful. Adultery doesn’t just harm the spouse who was cheated on. It affects others as well, and both The Betrayal, and The Deception, are stories about the long term consequences of infidelity.
Cassie Palmer is a character best described as grace under pressure. Seemingly naive and shy on the outside, Cassie is an iron lady in disguise.
We first meet Cassie in The Reunion, when Gillian and Jeremy stop for breakfast at a truck stop diner in Idaho Springs, Colorado, where Gillian suddenly finds herself reunited with the diner owner, her long-long best friend, Samantha Walsh. As they get reacquainted Samantha unveils another surprise–her daughter, Cassie. Gillian is surprised, but Jeremy’s life will never be the same.
Cassie and Jeremy soon become friends, but I don’t want to spoil too much of the story for those who haven’t yet read The Reunion. Cassie returns in The Journey, and this time she’s the leading lady. As the story begins, she is critically injured in a car crash that leaves her fighting for her life. Later, as she begins the long road to recovery, her world will turn upside down once again, yet through it all, she remains gracefully resilient.
Cassie is a purely fictitious character not inspired by anyone I know in real life. She is, instead, an inspiration for those times when we feel overwhelmed by all life’s obstacles.
I really tried to give Carrie Daniels, my Deceptionleading lady, a nice, girl-next-door quality, and, judging by the comments I’m receiving from reviewers, it looks like I’ve hit my mark.
A freelance photographer and former child model, Carrie’s entire world is about to come crumbling down. Three years earlier her mother suffered a debilitating stroke, and Carrie went from riches-to-rags once her mother’s insurance ran out. Her financial calamity, however, is only the beginning of her problems. Doug, her significant other for the past ten years, is about to dump her, and, once that happens, Carrie will be left homeless and vulnerable, making it all too easy for Louise, her former mentor, to seize the opportunity to exploit Carrie for her own selfish gains.
As the story unfolds, Carrie will experience both sides of infidelity. She will be shocked and devastated when Doug admits he’s been unfaithful to her. She’ll also be deceived by Scott, a married man who presents himself to her, and her best friend, as a man who’s single and available. Carrie leaves the relationship once she realizes things aren’t adding up, but by then it will be too late as Scott’s wife, Maggie, seeks revenge. Yet despite her troubles, Carrie remains resilient as she tries to make the best of what she can. She’s the kind of character you can root for–sweet on the outside, but strong on the inside.
Carrie is a mostly fictitious character, in that I did not model her after anyone in particular, although I may have put a little of myself into her. Photography has always been one of my life’s passions, and, in my younger days, I too dreamed of being a model.
And now for another true confession…like Ian Palmer, the leading man in The Reunion, Gillian, the leading lady, is also based on a real person–me. Granted, we’re not clones, but we do have a few things in common.
Gillian has had a successful career as an artist, and she’s even had a little bit of fame to go along with it. And while she’s done well professionally, her personal life has been a disappointment. Gillian has a knack for getting involved with the wrong men, but that all changes when she travels to Denver for an opening at a gallery and a man from her past suddenly reappears. Ian Palmer is the one man she never got over. Gillian and Ian resume their friendship, and, once again, become lovers. Unfortunately, her world will shatter once again when something unexpected occurs behind the scenes, and an accident nearly takes her life. Later on, she’ll become the object of affection with a new, and much younger man, while Ian attempts to win her back for a third time.
Okay, maybe my life hasn’t been quite so dramatic as Gillians. Or has it? I survived a car crash that, had it happened a split second sooner, may have killed me. And yes, there really once was an Ian in my life, but, thankfully, he’s never reappeared. And doggone it, I haven’t found myself enamored by a younger man–at least not yet. However, like Gillian, I started out my career as graphic designer and artist. I also lived in Denver for a time, and while I was there, a few of my paintings were accepted in some juried art shows.
So there you have it. Gillian is my alter ego, of sorts, even though I’ve never experienced most of the things that happen to her in The Reunion. That’s where imagination takes over, and it’s what made writing The Reunion so much fun.